On July 3, 2018, the TRUSU Equity Committee submitted a report to TRU summarizing stakeholder feedback about TRU’s multi-faith prayer space in Old Main 2494/2496.
Created in 2015, the multi-faith prayer space is an important and well-used space for students, faculty, and staff to meet their spiritual or religious needs. The bookable space welcomes individuals and groups to conduct quiet prayer, meditation, or other spiritual practices.
In May 2018, the Equity Committee was notified of some concerns that student faith groups had about the space, so the Committee hosted a consultation from June 11 – 27 to identify opportunities for improvement.
In summary, consultation participants were proud and appreciative to have a campus prayer space and they stressed the importance of this service to the campus community. Folks also told us that the current space in OM is too small and not sufficient for the growing number of people accessing the space, that the space is too loud, that there isn’t good storage in the space, that the space is difficult to book, that the space is disconnected from the Chaplaincy office, that the space lacks ablution (ritual cleansing) facilities, and that the smaller room OM 2494 is not functional as it is too dark and small. Finally, participants recognized that Muslim community members have a more rigorous and frequent religious obligation to pray, and so they felt awkward using/booking the space and potentially preventing Muslim community members from using the space when they needed it throughout the day.
In response to these issues, consultation participants recommended that TRU develop a new, larger, and reorganized prayer space to better serve the needs of faith communities. A space that has a dedicated space for Muslim prayer and a separate bookable space for other prayer and religious practices to avoid usage conflicts. Folks also recommended changes to the existing space while working towards a new prayer space like: removing unnecessary furniture, providing more shoe racks, providing a new bookshelf to hold religious texts, providing storage cubbies or lockers for backpacks and bags, brightening the space with non-denominational wall colouring or abstract design, reducing the air conditioning noise, soundproofing the space from the hall with door insulation or quieting the adjacent washroom’s hand dryers, and introducing a streamlined online room booking service like the library to allow groups to see when the space is in use.
The Equity Committee has passed on this feedback to TRU to provide guidance in the improvement and development of the prayer space and the Committee looks forward to seeing TRU’s future plans for the space.
For more information, contact:
Vice President Equity
About the Equity Committee
The TRUSU Equity Committee is a group of eight elected and appointed students who work to raise awareness about the systemic oppression of marginalized groups in society, and to challenge that oppression on campus.